This is a very important piece of information that you
must keep an eye out for. Japanese books are frequently split into two or more volumes, and it is easy to end up with only one volume, thinking you have the whole thing, especially when the same book in English may only be one volume. For example, the Japanese edition of Stephen King's Needful Things is in two volumes, whereas in English it is just one volume, and the same is true of the Japanese edition of many English writers. 

To find out whether the book you are looking at is complete in itself or one of a series, you need to check the following:




These symbols come after the title (so they appear on the cover and on the title page, as well as on the page with the publication details), and show that a book is the first, middle or last volume of a series. If - as is usual - it is a two-volume series there will, of course, be no

"middle" volume, and there is no easy way to tell whether there ought to be a middle volume. However, three-volume sets are comparatively infrequent, so unless you have any reason to suspect there should be a middle volume it's reasonable to assume that it is complete in two volumes.

If the book is part of a longer series (i.e., more than three volumes) the number of the volume should appear after the title (see the Japanese numbers given above). In the case of older books, usually only the last volume of the series carries a publication statement, so if (like me!) you have a set of older books which runs from volume one to six, but does not have a publishing statement, this probably means there is at least one further volume which is missing from the set.

Also quite common in older books is the following symbol, which indicates that the book is complete in itself, and that there are no further volumes:

This symbol is normally also placed prominently on the cover and title page, after the title. Check the title carefully, and avoid it if it is followed by a number or one of the three symbols indicating the first, middle and last volume of a series (unless of course the other volumes in the series are also present). If it has the symbol indicating it is complete, or if there is nothing at all after the title, then you can assume the book is complete in itself.

And that, more or less, is as far as a non-specialist non-Japanese speaker can hope to do. The next page gives a brief account of other information it
might be possible to glean without having specialised knowledge, and then I finish off with some examples from actual books.

                           NEXT      FIRST      PREVIOUS      HOME

                                                Contact Me